Catastrophe risk modeling firm AIR Worldwide has stated that insured losses in Germany from July’s flooding could approach €5 billion.
For five days a low pressure system known as “Bernd” sat over central Europe and brought about significant flooding.
Germany’s Rhineland-Palatinate and North Rhine-Westphalia regions were particularly affected, experiencing heavy and, in some cases, historic rainfall amounts, with the border region between the German states of Bavaria, Thuringia, and Saxony being affected by localized flooding as well.
AIR highlights how one area that was especially hard hit was the Ahr valley, named after the Ahr River, a left tributary of the Rhine River in Germany.
All along the Ahr River, homes were flooded and bridges were broken; in the village of Schuld most buildings were destroyed.
Included in AIR’s estimates are losses to insured physical damage to property, both structures and their contents, from both on- and off-floodplain flooding.
AIR notes that many reinsurance contracts are subject to an hours clause and that, given the event’s duration, the flood will likely be treated as a single occurrence in Germany.
To produce its loss estimates, AIR analysed hourly precipitation fields over Germany derived from NASA’s Global Precipitation Measurement (GPM) system between July 5 and 19.
Rainfall data from over 1,600 gauging stations was also assimilated in order to improve the quality of the GPM precipitation input.
As the vast majority of losses for this event within Germany came from the catchments of the Rhine and Danube basins, Aon says the loss estimate is limited to these two river basins within Germany.
AIR notes how the restoration of infrastructure such as water and gas pipes, power lines, and roads could take weeks or even months, according to some estimates, which could lead to loss inflation effects.